It’s nearly February, and we haven’t had winter yet.
Weird, I know, but it’s not the first time. Every few years we have a really mild winter, then we get punished for it. Mother Nature gets us back by sending us lots more tics and other nasty critters.
And the next winter we get heavier than usual ice storms and snow falls.
I know the weird weather cycles have happened several times in my life, but the year my middle son was born really stands out in my memory. I remember going to a friend’s house for our Philomathic Study Club meeting.
The group was made up of women of all ages from mid-twenties to one hundred years old. (At least they seemed that old at the time.)
On that beautiful winter day, I took my three month old son and walked the few steps to the friend’s house. And as luck would have it, I was privileged to sit next to one of my favorite (also one of the oldest) members.
We talked about how beautiful the weather was when she said, “That’s what scares me.”
“A beautiful winter scares you?” I was surprised. “Why?”
Her sweet, quavery voice took on a steely tone. “The weather was just like this when everyone died of the influenza, back in the 1920’s.”
“Do you think the weather made them sick?” (Wouldn’t that be an odd superstition?)
She laughed softly. “No. But with the weather this pretty, everyone wants to get out and about. They go to church, visit with each other in their yards, go shopping and to social events. Even those who’re getting sick and don’t recognize it want to get out, and those poor folks share their germs without ever realizing they have.”
I keep remembering that conversation because right now, the hospital in T-Town is full of babies, sick with RSV.
Writer and nurse Jackie Kramer talks often this time of year about dealing with choking babies. When my niece had to put her baby in the hospital last week, I grabbed the phone and called Jackie.
Not only is she a great writer, nurse and friend, she’s also very good at calming Nervous Nellys. Who knew being a calming influence was a prerequisite for a peds nurse? (Answer: Me!)
Me: What does RSV stand for?
Jackie: Respiratory Syncytial Virus. You know what respiratory and virus mean.
Me: What’s Syncytial mean?
Jackie: Who knows? The point is, it’s a sick baby, and the hospital is the best place to take care of them.
She kept talking, telling me how the treatment would make our baby (she’s my great-niece, so I claim her) feel better and breathe easier.
Jackie: It’ll be much harder on Mama than it is on Baby.
Me: Mama and Grandmommy. My sister is there with her, and probably as upset as the mama is.
Jackie: (chuckle) They usually are.
I haven’t been to the hospital because they requested no visitors (RSV is one of the reasons I don’t go around new babies for a few months if I can help it) but I’m so thankful for the nurses who work overtime, saving those babies’ lives. And calming silly great-aunts who call to find out why.
(Ooh, I kind of like being a GREAT aunt. Sounds like I’m good at something.)
Preacher Dave said in church yesterday that we have between 7 and 10 kids who are in the hospital right now, so I wonder if it’s not like the spread of the influenza in the ’20’s. From newborn breathing problems to RSV to back surgery to bacterial spinal meningitis, our kids are being hard hit.
Today, I’m praying for the kiddos, nurses and docs and thanking Him for giving us all three. Who are you praying for?